Thursday, June 28, 2007

Most Presidential Candidates Back Medical Marijuana Patient Protection

All eight Democratic candidates have taken positive positions on medical marijuana. Six candidates have publicly promised to end the federal raids, including Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), John Edwards (D-NC), Mike Gravel (D-AK), and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), who in April signed legislation making New Mexico the 12th state to protect residents who use medical marijuana. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) have yet to clearly state their support for ending the raids, but along with Sen. Dodd, they voted in opposition to federal legislation in committee that would have increased the penalties for growing and distributing medical marijuana in states that have approved its use.

Many of the Republican candidates have also taken compassionate positions on medical marijuana, including former secretary of Heath and Human Services Tommy Thompson, who recently stated on two separate occasions that he would end the raids on patients. Last year, Reps. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Ron Paul (R-TX) voted with Kucinich in support of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would have cut off funding for federal raids on states with medical marijuana programs.

McCain and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore have both taken positions protecting states' rights, with McCain saying he would, "let states decide" the medical marijuana issue.

Not all candidates have shown compassion for the seriously ill. Neither former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts nor former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have taken a clear position one way or another. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) have all stated that they would continue having cancer and AIDS patients arrested for their use of medical marijuana.



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